Houses, buildings and structures initially damaged during the 6.3 magnitude quake last Oct. 16, are now totally wrecked after the second strong jolt on Oct. 29.
Yesterday, Nov. 2, the Philippine Coast Guard Aviation Force flew its Islander aircraft manned by Capt. Philip Soria with the Office of the Civil Defense XI operations chief Marvin Samson , to conduct an aerial survey to quake affected areas in the towns of Bansalan, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur; and the towns of Makilala, Tulunan and Kidapawan, North Cotabato.
From above, the destruction wrought by the quake was plain to see. The visibility at the area in Balutakan river in Bansalan and Magsaysay was not clear so it was hard to assess the damage in these parts.
It was almost 9 a.m. when the aircraft flew over Makilala town in North Cotabato. At the ground, residents were seen putting up tents close to their homes as temporary shelter. The aftershocks ere frequent and residents feared their houses will collapse should another quake happen.
A portion of the mountain in Makilala caved in and caused a landslide last Tuesday where some residents were trapped. It was not easy for the aircraft to go closer to the affected as the team was briefed earlier of the strong presence of the New People’s Army in the area.
Capt. Soria said during a coordination conference with the military, their intelligence section cautioned them on the
presence of rebels in the area.
“So we can’t really go down but will just pass over twice or thrice because there are also many communication towers and high tension wires ,” he said. Also, strong winds and cloudy skies prevented the team from getting more aerial impressions.
Since there were media teams onboard, photos and videos were shot showing how it was difficult for emergency and relief response teams to render assistance because the residents were living in treacherous terrain.
Lt. Col. Rhojun Rosales, the 39th Infantry battalion commander , said people living in the hinterlands are those heavily affected by the quake, more than those living in town centers, even if some of them are sleeping in tents beside their houses.
From above, the improvised shelters can be seen in all the towns affected such as Tulunan, the epicenter of the quakes,
“Based on our assessment earlier, we have really seen damaged houses and the state of Eva Hotel which totally collapsed in Kidapawan City,” Samson said in an interview yesterday after the aerial survey flight.
“The damage has become bigger because of the 6.6 magnitude,” he said.
He said they will rely on the Phivolcs bulletin on the situation as well as the information on earthquake hazards.
“So I’m asking everyone not to spread news especially if we are not sure of the information , if you have questions just call our office 297-7915 or may visit FB page Civil defense- Davao region ,”
adding that panic can only lead to more chaos.
As of yesterday, five fatalities, two missing and 162 injured, were recorded since the 6.5 magnitude quake last October 16.
The Philippine Coast Guard deployed 71 personnel from the Northern District command in Northern Mindanao, including 15 vehicles, six ambulance vehicles, 285 handheld radios, three Search and rescue (SAR) dogs, two explosive sniffing dogs. It also deployed 10 doctors and 12 nurses, as human resource to affected areas..
Adding to the assets, a ten wheeler boom trucks is expected to arrive today, Sunday from Manila.
In addition also, two PCG ships, ( BRP Bagacsy and MCS 3010) from Zamboanga City loaded with assorted relief goods are expected to arrive today.
The Davao City Risk Reduction Management Office has committed to transport relief goods to nearby affected areas while waiting for the arrival of PCG boom trucks.
PCG’ s Humanitarian and Disaster Response Operation (HADR) Task Force Tabang Mindanao headed by Commodore Gregorio Adel, said the organizational structure of the task force was crafted following the Incident command system that would fit the OCD.
Also Commodore Joseph Coyme, the designated officer of the National heaquarters, said the TF Tabang Mindanao will harmonize and coordinate its effort to the different regional offices of OCD, CDRRMC, Department of Social and Welfare Development, Department of Health, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police, are also providing similar humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
Relief goods are still being distributed to the residents of earthquake-stricken areas.
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